Joint meeting of the Reference/Instruction Department and Library Technology Committee
Thursday November 18, 2010
11:00am, Conference Room
1. Follow-up on Federated Search/Discovery Services Project
Review “What do we want to know?” section of the “Federated Search” wiki:
2. New ways to promote services
Other agenda items?
I hope you can join us!


1. Follow-up on Federated Search/Discovery Services Project
Review "What do we want to know?" section of the "Federated Search" wiki:

(To-dos in green.)
  • Reviewed answers to "What do we want to knows" here:
  • George's impression is that Xerxes/MetaLib would be more work to set up initially than III Encore, but not impossible.
  • Agreed that we don't want to get involved in eXtensible Catalog project at this time.
  • Everyone should access the Xerxes demo site here:, using the guest username and password to view results or try out the personal features (saving record sets, etc.). This shows what Xerxes looks like without customizations.
  • KD will try to find out why the NY State Library canceled their federated search.
    • (See press release, Oct. 22: )
      • "This decision was made after examining use of this feature on, and in consultation with the NOVELNY Steering Committee." "If you have any questions about this change please contact the NOVELNY Help Desk at 877-277-0250, 486-6012 [Capital District], or via e-mail at"
      • "Ms. Duncan received few responses to the survey issued in August as to whether to continue using the federated search product. Use of federated search on is low. Following a brief discussion of usage and cost, Mr. Kendrick moved to discontinue federated search and the motion passed unanimously." -
    • Also, can you search NOVELny (New York Online Virtual Library) all at once? It looks like you can, but how are they doing this if they canceled their federated search?
  • People were really impressed by the Encore demo a couple of weeks ago. The software has improved a lot since a year ago.
    • Pros
      • Makes it easy to switch between article search and catalog search. Shows article results in the sidebar of catalog results, and vice-versa.
        • Xerxes/MetaLib is really mostly for article searching, though the catalog can be searched alongside other databases.
      • Non-confusing interface.
      • Robust catalog search (III talking to III, so it better be!) in a much nicer interface than the standard one.
      • Does not combine results from different databases into one list - displays them on sub-tabs (could be a con, too)
        • Because it does this, it can provide limiters that are based on those in the native database.
    • Cons
      • Can only include a limited number of databases under each subject group. What about the ones that aren't included?
        • One of the major benefits of Xerxes/MetaLib is how it presents all databases recommended for a subject in a common interface, whether they can be cross-searched or not.
      • Does not combine results from different databases into one list - displays them on sub-tabs (could be a pro, too)
    • KD will ask for a list of publishers whose databases can be federated, and official list of libraries that have the newest version of Encore.
    • Libraries with the newest version of Encore: Everyone should check them out, see what you think.
      • From Dave Hemingway at III, 12/17/2010: "Here are the Encore library links, which use both Synergy and Harvesting. (...) As I am sure you are aware, v. 4.1 (scheduled for release around March 2011) will have expanded database coverage (as much as a library wants to include) with the portfolios approach."
        • St. Lawrence U (KD will ask Bob to contact Bart to see what they think so far.)
        • U of Nebraska-Lincoln
        • (removed UCSD, since this wasn't on the 12/17/2010 list that Dave sent us.)
    • KD will get an unofficial price quote for Encore, as well as some documentation for Connie. (Connie wasn't able to attend the demo.)
  • We had also talked to our new OCLC rep about getting a demo of WorldCat Local after the 1st of the year.
    • KD will get an unofficial price quote for WorldCat Local and talk to Bob and/or our OCLC rep about when we might be able to schedule a demo.
  • Funding: Maybe we'll get it, maybe we won't. KD thinks we have more of a shot of getting funding if we request something specific. But, we also don't want to do a ton of work on crafting a recommendation if we're just going to get turned down.
  • Looked at video showing impact of Xerxes on SFX requests:
    • This is the strongest argument for implementation of an article cross-search we have seen yet: getting more value out of our resources (plus reaching new users). It's a pretty solid answer to Gary Schwartz's question: "What are we missing out on by not implementing this?"
    • SFX requests nearly doubled after implementation of Xerxes.
      • An increase in SFX requests probably maps to a similar increase in fulltext downloads and interlibrary loan requests.
      • Increasing fulltext downloads by a significant amount would mean getting a lot more value from our fulltext resources.
    • Surprisingly, SFX requests coming from native database interfaces barely decreased after implementation of Xerxes. This seems to indicate that people who already search databases do not stop searching them in the native interface when Xerxes is rolled out. A big portion of the Xerxes SFX requests are probably coming from people who never searched the native database interfaces in the first place - users we have not been able to reach thus far.
  • KD will send Bob, Gary the video.

2. New ways to promote services
We didn't have time to address this - postponed until after Thanksgiving.

Before we meet next, everyone should have a look at these sites: what do you think of them?